1. What is/are some relationship(s) that have stood out for you during your time as a Precious Blood Volunteer?
  2. What are some of the experiences that have stood out for you during your time as a Precious Blood Volunteer?
  3. How have you grown during your time as a Precious Blood Volunteer?

Below is the answer from former Precious Blood Volunteer Marijo Gabriel.

2017-2018 Volunteer Marijo Gabriel

Some relationships that stand out to me are the ones with the adolescents and younger children. They are the ones that bring me the most joy and at times the most worry. With them I realize, the best gift I can give them is the attention and support they seek and a time to really be a kid. I think we can forget or dismiss children or just want to keep them occupied but this is when they need someone the most. They are at such an import developmental stage where they are absorbing the world around them faster than they can understand it, and where it’s easier to not take the time to critically think about consequences and situations. We have to meet them where they are.
Experiences that have stood out to me during my service year, are where I’ve been able to witness and be apart of building community and restoring dignity and worth. For example, when people say you never know the significance of a moment until it’s past is definitely true. The moment I’m remembering specifically is when we were celebrating one of the mayor’s mentoring initiative mentees birthdays. We were singing, eating cake, having a good time. Then the following weekend the birthday celebrant and his friend who was sitting next to him during the party were involved in a gun incident sending both to the hospital and one briefly to the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. They both could have died.

Marijo at a Cubs game with some of her friends from PBMR

This year I’ve been able to grow more by experiencing God as Agape and connecting that with our human experience. Our understanding of what God is and what love is, is limited to our human capacity. Through interacting, witnessing and being able to encounter and be vulnerable to the joys and pains of realities of many people in our Back of the Yards community family I was able to catch the glimpses of God which are the moments, and emotions that makes us truly human. Its appreciating life, time and people through an Agape lens because it is more than a noun and a verb it’s a guideline on how to be truly human and being our authentic self.

Marijo is currently serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago and will finish her term of service at the end of July 2018. She is a graduate of Creighton University. 

To learn more about becoming a Precious Blood Volunteer go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org